Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer's 2000 release Eight Seasons is a conceptual masterwork. Kremer, long known for his skillful interpretations of Astor Piazzolla's Argentinean tangos, had the brilliant idea of matching four of the Latin master's tone poems of the seasons in his native Buenos Aires with Antonio Vivaldi's conceptually similar masterpiece "The Four Seasons," alternating seasons between the two works. Besides the conceptual perfection of the idea, the performances are exquisite. Kremer and his conservatory orchestra, the Kremerata Baltica, do a particularly masterful job with the Vivaldi, avoiding the ornate bloat that affects so many recordings of this work. Their performances are brisk and to-the-point, with bright tempos that add a vitality not often found in this rather shopworn old standard. As always, Kremer's solos in the Piazzolla works are absolutely superb, with the dramatic flourishes of the massed string section providing startling counterpoint, especially on the breathtaking "Verano Porteno". Eight Seasons is a truly remarkable work by an underrated performer.
"I can’t imagine a more diverse palette of sounds, styles and colours than the three composers on this recording. They are unmistakably Argentinian yet tantalisingly different. Between them they represent the vibrant fusion of cultures that exist in Argentina today. In order to give full justice to their music, we researched their personal tastes, sources and sound worlds, looking for the influences that shaped them."
The Blu-ray version of the release 'Tango!' by the Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble features a video of the studio performance of several of the Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla's most popular pieces, including Verano Porteno, Oblivion, and Libertango. Accompanied by a special documentary, 'Music from the Heart', which presents interviews with ensemble members and behind-the-scenes footage of the studio recording process. The Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble was formed in January 2011 by the critically acclaimed Dutch violinist and violist Isabelle van Keulen especially for a series of concerts in Haarlem's Concertgebouw which showcased the music of Ástor Piazzolla.
This Naxos disc by the five-member Versus Ensemble contains a potpourri of seven different works by Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. It includes many of his best known major works – the Milonga del ángel, Verano Porteño, Libertango, and Oblivion – plus five excerpts from his least known major work: his operetta Maria de Buenos Aires. Of the 11 tracks here, four feature either vocalist Enrique Moratalla or soprano María Rey-Joly, one features reciter Horacio Ferrer, and six are instrumentals.
The highlight of the Chandos disc is a real rarity, the 1953 Sinfonietta written as a fruit of Piazzolla’s studies with Ginastera prior to his trip to Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Vigorously rhythmic (as one might expect), the three spans are dramatic, sober and jubilant by turns, even if the melodies do lack the distinctive Piazzolla sound. It’s a well-constructed work, though, and Gabriel Castagna’s account is full of verve.